Route 4: COASTAL RIVER BEDS

LIMESTONE RAVINES, COASTAL RIVER BEDS, TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE AND FARMING,  BIRDS OF PREY, ROCKY BIRDS, WIDE PANORAMIC BIRD´S-EYE VIEWS OF THE COASTAL MOUNTAIN RANGES AND OF THE PLAIN OF THE “CAMPO DE CARTAGENA”.

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ITINERARY AND LOCATION:

Coastal mountain range. Municipality of Cartagena (Murcia).

30 min. away from Cartagena; 1 h. away from Murcia; 20 min. from Mazarrón; 50 min. from the Mar Menor.

 Difficulty: low-medium.  Duration: half a day (5 h.) or full day.

Seasonality: Throughout the year (in summer only half a day).

© Birdingmurcia

FLORA:

Relict individuals of stone oak, traditional farming fields of olive trees, almond trees, carob trees, together with other man-introduced species like alzabaras, fig trees, chumberas and palm trees; shrub masses of albaida, lentisco, espino negro, romero, tomillo, lavanda, cantueso, rabogato, genista, jara blanca, jarilla y jara pringosa; Iberian-African species like aliagas, cornicales y palmitos; espartos y albardines; baladres, cañas, carrizo y álamos on the river beds as well as singular species such as caralluma and several orchid species on the North-facing slopes.

© trebol-a

FAUNA:

The easiest-to-see animal group are birds, being the Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle and Eagle Owl,  the most outstanding ones, together with rocky birds like Black Wheatear, the Blue Rock Thrush, Crag Martin or the choughs. The Hoopoe, Red-rumped Swallow, the Woodchat Shrike or Oriole are brighter and more colourful while pigeons, jackdaws, kestrels, warblers, greenfinches, and little owls are more common..

©trebol-a

Mamiferos y reptiles:

Among reptiles and amphibians we should mention species such as Ocellated Lizard, Tarentola mauritanica, the Montpellier snake, Iberian and long-tailed lizards; while mammals are represented by the fox, wild boar, genets, martens,  wildcats and Garden Dormose.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ROUTE:

Interesting route that will take us up a coastal dry river bed, characteristic of the Southeast of the Iberian Peninsula, to the highest peaks of the whole Campo de Cartagena. A landscape consisting of scattered traditional farm houses and almond tree fields on terraces will show us the traditional life of the area and the architectural forms associated with it: farm houses, typical roofs made with a local milled rock called “lágena”, stone ovens, wells, prickly pear plants ( chumberas), alzabaras… the last, centenarian survivors of the formerly abundant holm oaks adapted to the high  temperatures of the region and a path marked with canes, oleander (baladre), and aromatic plants like rosemary and thyme. Abandoned iron mines are witnesses of a past hard, rough life and were also another characteristic aspect of the traditional rural life  in the area.

The path goes up smoothly getting into areas densely covered in typical Mediterranean shrubs and ending up in one of the most impressive rocky areas of the Iberian Southeast and habitat of rocky birds: collalbas negras, roqueros solitarios, halcones peregrinos, aviones roqueros… It is the territory of the Golden Eagle,  which will meet us at some stage flying over our heads, scorted by chovas piquirrojas and grajillas that will perform their acrobatic flights high up in the sky. The whole thing will make an inspiring experience which will remind us of the best wildlife TV documentaries.

Atop a breathtaking limestone cliff we will get captivated by one the widest panoramic views of the coast. And in the clearest days we will be able to distinguish, far on the horizon, the coast o Cabo de Gata, the mountain ranges Sierra de María and Sierra Nevada and even sometimes the African coast at Oran.  On the way back, the flight of the Bonelli´s Eagle and the calls of the Eagle Owl will round off an excursion that is indispensable to come to understand the nature and traditional life of this part of the Southeast.

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